A new DARPA solicition seeks "swarming robot space vampires" (in JWZ's evocative phrasing) to disassemble and harvest valuable components from decommissioned satellites before they're decommissioned, to use as spare parts for the stuff that's still functional:
More than $300 billion worth of satellites are estimated to be in the geosynchronous orbit (GEO—22,000 miles above the earth). Many of these satellites have been retired due to normal end of useful life, obsolescence or failure; yet many still have valuable components, such as antennas, that could last much longer than the life of the satellite. When satellites in GEO “retire,” they are put into a GEO disposal or “graveyard” orbit. That graveyard potentially holds tens to more than a hundred retired satellites that have components that could be repurposed – with the willing knowledge and sanction of the satellite’s owner. Today, DoD deploys new, replacement satellites at high cost—one of the primary drivers of the high cost is the launch costs, which is dependent on the weight and volume of antennas. The repurposing of existing, retired antennas from the graveyard represents a potential for significant cost savings.
Petnet is a $300 internet-of-things pet food bowl. Its network went down and stayed down for a week, leaving some pets to go hungry. The BBC reports that owners are livid and that it’s not the first trouble Petnet’s had maintaining service. Petnet has two Twitter accounts. The official one has not tweeted since 30 […]
Justine Haupt made this handsome and completely functional rotary cellphone. Her design is open-source and you can even buy a case kit from her company, Sky’s Edge Robotics. You have to find and carefully modify your own rotary dial, though — they’re apparently no longer made — as well as a few other components. Why […]
Samsung claims to have developed an “Ultra Thin Glass” for its new Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone, signalling scratch resistance and durability beyond that of similar products. But tests conducted by Zack Nelson using a Mohs Hardness Testkit [Amazon] — a set of styluses made of different materials — show that it is no more […]
In our modern world, our usual first approach to combating an oncoming cold is to medicate it into oblivion. Sometimes, that carpet bombing pharmaceutical attack plan can knock out the congestion and discomfort of an illness before it settles in. But there’s always something to be said for trying to put down the effects of […]
Whether you’re managing a political campaign or building a client base, there comes a time when you stop seeing people and start seeing numbers. This doesn’t happen suddenly. You shake hands, make calls, and build relationships. And then those relationships disappear into a database of donors or customers as your organization grows. People get brought […]
Learning to ride a bike is one of those quintessential childhood experiences that’s as rewarding as it is scary. Prep your precious babe for success by starting them early with the world’s lightest balance bike, the Brilrider FLIGHT. For the uninitiated, balance bikes are no-pedal bicycles that propel forward by pushing off the ground with […]